Life and works.
Emily(1818), Anne, Charlotte wew the children of an Anglican clergy man, and lived an isolated life on the Yorkshire’s moors, their mother having died soon afeter Anne’s birth. They were self-educated, reading widely from their father’s and the public library. In the 1839 Emily traveled to Brussels Belgium with her sister, to study at the Pensionnat Heger. Like many female writer Emily decided to use a pseudonyms, it was under the pen name of Ellis Bell that Emily published her novel Wuthering Heights.
The novel revolves around two houses: Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange, respectively inhabited by the Earnshaws and the Lintons. At the beginning of the story Mr Lockwood the tenant of Thrushcross Grange calls on him Mr Heathcliff, the landlord of Wuthering Heights. Forced to stay for the night, he had a strange dream, a young girl Catherine, who is tapping on his window asking to be let. When he returned to Thrushcross Grange he asked the story to Nelly, the housekeeper that started to narrate.
Contemporary were disappointed with the cruel details of the story and the lack of moral. The spirit of Romanticism and its concern with human soul are still present in the correspondence between passions of the characters and the wild landscape. The desolate scenery, the storms reflected the psychological conflict of the characters. Heathcliff is a sort of Byronic hero,moved by irresistible passion,solitary life. There is also the representation of rural life and the supernatural elements typical of the Gothic story.
The novel is built around the contrast between the two houses where the action take place. Wuthering Heights reflects the nature of Heathcliff who owns it: severe,gloomy, and brutal, like the atmosphere. Thrushcross Grange, the house of the bourgeois Lintons represents their conception of life based on stability. The principle of storm and energy on the one hand, and the principle of calm and settled assurance on the other. With the marriage between Hareton and Cathy, they will compose an harmony.
The style of the novel.
Bronte makes use of dramatic irony. The narrative mode is a system of Chinese boxes, a concentric system of narratives. But the structure is never concentric: it employs two major narrators, male and female, outsider and insider. Mr Lockwood, the polite visitor from the city is the outsider, Nelly is the insider. This complex structure make a sense of suspance.
The theme of death.
Like Blake the theme of death is very important in the novel. Unlike the other novels of the Victorian age in which dead is a moment of forgiveness, in Wuthering Heights death is not and end but the liberation of the spirit.